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06/06/89 the People of the State of v. Rodney Billingsley

June 6, 1989

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

RODNEY BILLINGSLEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

539 N.E.2d 1302, 184 Ill. App. 3d 142, 132 Ill. Dec. 496 1989.IL.853

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Joseph M. McCarthy, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and LINDBERG, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE INGLIS

Following a jury trial in Kane County, defendant, Rodney Billingsley, was convicted of residential burglary (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 19-3) and theft (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 16-1(d)(1)). Defendant was sentenced to two years' probation under the supervision of Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes . Defendant filed a timely notice of appeal. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

On September 4, 1986, Enss Mitchell returned to his home in Aurora around 11:45 a.m. He discovered the downstairs door broken open and the house in "total disarray." Mitchell testified that he immediately noticed that his two video recorders were missing. He also discovered one video recorder missing from his father's bedroom. Mitchell stated that he sold electronic equipment for a living and placed a value of $1,450 on the missing video recorders. Mitchell further testified that he called the police department shortly after he arrived home.

Officer David Tinsley of the Aurora police department testified at trial. Officer Tinsley testified that he responded to a call concerning a burglary at the Mitchell residence. Officer Tinsley observed a downstairs window open, with the screen pushed in from the outside. It was Officer Tinsley's opinion that the window was used as an entry point to the house. He also observed a door leading into the downstairs section of the house kicked open.

Officer Gregory Anderson of the Aurora police department also testified at trial. Officer Anderson stated that he received a telephone call on September 4, 1986, from a confidential informant, telling him that defendant and another person "had stolen several VCRs and a reel-to-reel tape deck the night before" and were storing them in the trunk of a white Buick automobile. The informant also provided the location of the automobile. Officer Anderson stated that he drove his unmarked squad car over to the location and observed the white Buick. He indicated that he was informed of the Mitchell burglary by radio dispatch while he was en route to set up surveillance on the white Buick. Officer Anderson further testified that he observed a car pull up to the Buick and transfer boxes into the trunk of the Buick. Defendant was identified as one of the persons who transferred the boxes. Defendant was arrested a short distance from the Buick. Officer Anderson later determined that the Buick was registered to defendant. Officer Anderson indicated that the Buick was towed to the police station, and a search warrant was obtained to search the trunk.

Officer Marshall Gauer of the Aurora police department testified that he executed the search of the trunk and recovered electronic equipment taken from the Mitchell home and from other burglaries. However, the items found in the trunk were not dusted for fingerprints.

Officer Larry Langston of the Aurora police department also testified at trial. Officer Langston stated that he interviewed defendant at the Aurora police department on September 4, 1986. After he read defendant his Miranda rights, he questioned defendant about the items found in the trunk. Officer Langston testified that defendant stated that he bought the items from a person named Jessie, and that he knew the items were stolen. It was defendant's intention to buy the items cheaply and resell them at a profit. Defendant denied any involvement in the burglaries.

Jacqueline Fracaro, a forensic scientist for the Illinois Department of State Police, testified that she examined the latent finger and palm prints taken from the Mitchell residence. She also examined defendant's print card taken shortly after his arrest. It was Fracaro's opinion that the prints taken from the Mitchell residence matched those on defendant's print card.

Defendant's brother, Eric Greene, testified at trial. Greene stated that, on September 3, 1986, he saw a car pull up to the white Buick and transfer some boxes into the trunk of the Buick. One of the passengers saw Greene looking out of the window and asked him if defendant was home. Greene stated that defendant was not home, and the car left. Greene testified that he went to bed and awoke on September 4, 1986, at approximately 10 a.m. Greene stated that defendant was home at this time. Greene further stated that defendant awoke at approximately 11:30 a.m. and went to get something to eat at a local restaurant. Shortly thereafter, Greene looked outside and saw defendant in police custody. Defendant's girlfriend, Estellita Gonzalez, along with some relatives of defendant, substantiated the testimony of Eric Greene.

Defendant was the last witness to testify at trial. Defendant stated that he bought the white Buick in May 1986, using $500 of his own money and a $700 loan from Jeff Washington to pay for the car. In August 1986, defendant sold the car to Washington because he was unable to pay off the loan. Defendant testified that he ...


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